The spine of Rosaria Butterfield’s The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian world is the joyful, generous, simple, yet often excruciating call to open our lives in service to others. A repeated refrain is “strangers become neighbors, and neighbors become family.” The Christian call to love is a call to die, she asserts.
She strongly warns against counterfeit hospitality, that which only seeks to serve others with the ultimate objective of profiting self.
“Wives, let your husbands lead. Husbands, be sensitive to your wives’ energy levels” in the book’s conclusion is a gem. I also liked her stern reminder that all humans are capable of all sin. This was repeated a few times. We Christians tend to think ourselves better than others, so I found that an apt warning.
Butterfield, however, self-identifies as a conservative Christian. I’m wary of such labels. Unsurprisingly, she takes an excessively strict view on some matters. I’m not terribly fond of tacking “conservative” or “liberal” adjectives onto my faith. I’d rather just see myself as a Christ follower.
Likely due to different personalities and writing styles, I didn’t care too much for what in my opinion were mini rabbit trails, and I got lost in the details on Tank, neighbor Hank’s pitbull, Tabby’s delicious cat dinners and so on, but still enjoyed and was challenged by her extensive vocabulary (she’s an English professor) and intelligent discourse.
She liberally references Scripture, and is thoroughly Christocentric. The risen, victorious Lamb gets the glory he deserves. True to its name, the gospel is the throughline of Butterfield’s third book.
So how does Couples Nursing measure up in terms of radically ordinary hospitality?
Husband breastfeeding is the dictionary definition of each of those three words employed by Prof. Butterfield. There’s nothing counterfeit about Couples Nursing. It is the real deal Holyfield. It’s cracked nipples, hurting jaw real. It’s radical, change-our-lives-forever-as-we-merge-closer-to-unity, real, yet very ordinary hospitality. We flow into one body and soul for eternity.
“Our relationship is so real, 100 percent authentic. We know how fake feel we dropped him off at the clinic.”
— Nursing fans of Christian rap
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
— Ecclesiastes 4:12